Rudy Giuliani probes for voter fraud, freighter runs aground on Detroit River, a Buddy the Elf hotel suite

In President Trump's latest attempt to overturn the Michigan election, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani made a direct plea to Republicans at the state legislature "take back your power" and intervene in the process of awarding electoral votes.

The request preceded an unorthodox setting in Lansing when Giuliani appeared before the House Oversight Committee and questioned his own witnesses about alleged voter fraud they spotted while working during the election.

Among the testimonies were similar accusations that software used in voter equipment had given votes away to Trump's opponent Joe Biden, that turnout in Detroit was over 100%, and mail-in ballots were stolen. None of the allegations have proven to be true.

"It appears your citizens care more about this election than you do because they are out on the streets," Giuliani said to the committee, with outbursts of applause breaking out. "The election in Detroit was a disgrace, residents of Michigan should be embarrassed."

The evening was contentious from the beginning when after Giuliani took his seat, State Rep. Darrin Camilleri, a Democrat, tried swearing in the attorney. House Oversight Chairman Rep. Matt Hall, a Republican, gaveled down the request before the two started arguing. 

Giuliani would eventually not be sworn in. Neither would any of the witnesses he brought forward. While all of them had submitted sworn affidavits that what they saw inside the TCF Center on election night was true, a judge has deemed some of the testimony as not credible.

That includes testimony from Mellissa Carone, a contractor for Dominion Voting System - the company that runs voting equipment and the subject of many conspiracies regarding the 2020 election.

Carone said the voting systems would continually jam and votes would be counted repeatedly.

"Counting votes, ballots nine or 10 times," she said, estimating this happened thousands of times over the 27 hours she was at TCF.

 The allegations followed a memorable exchange where Carone repeatedly interrupts Rep. Steven Johnson who was asking her about differences in poll book totals. 

"What did you guys do, take it and do something crazy to it?" she asks as Giuliani motioned for her let Johnson speak. 

Giuliani's visit to Lansing was one of multiple stops at state legislatures he was making in an effort to convince lawmakers to take allegations of voter fraud seriously enough to intervene in the election process. 

In addition to the 39 lawsuits that judges have thrown out was a declaration from Attorney General William Barr that the U.S. Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the election.

As it stands, Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes. Its 16 electoral votes will be cast for the Democrat on Dec. 14.

Freighter runs aground near Grosse Ile, 2nd ship hits bottom nearby

Two vessels on the Detroit River found themselves off course Wednesday when one freighter ran aground near Grosse Ile and another touched the bottom later in the day.

Around 7 a.m., a 500-foot Canadian freighter called the Harvest Spirit ran aground after it lost propulsion when a lube oil pump failed. 

"...once that happens, it's a very dangerous situation and the vessel needs to be controlled somehow," said Lt. Jeremiah Schiesel, of the Coast Guard. "Unfortunately, in this case, they dropped their stern anchor and the bow drifted into an area that was too shallow."

The incident happened in the Livingstone Channel, near Grosse Ile. Then, hours later another ship hit the channel's bottom when it was trying to avoid the freighter.

"The (second ship) did not run aground, they touched the bottom," Schiesel said. "And then they went out to an anchorage to assess if there was any damage."

As of Thursday morning, the ship remains stuck and will require a salvage plan that will require approval and contractors to make sure the vessel can be refloated without causing risk to the surrounding area.

Recreational boaters are asked to steer clear of the area as the channel gets shutdown. An alternative route with limited access to the Amherstburg channel remains open. 

"Even though the weather is very cold, we still see some diehards out there trying to get some last boat time in," Schiesel said. "But we want to advise the public to just kinda stay away and allow the salvage crews to safely operate." 

Federal judge rejects request to overturn indoor dining ban

A federal judge has denied a request from the restaurant industry to overturn part of a temporary executive order from the health department that bans indoor dining at Michigan bars and eateries.

After doubling down on efforts in their lawsuit, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association appeared to accept the result and promised to fight any opportunity to make the rule more restrictive.

"While we are disappointed with today’s ruling, it is important to note what Judge Maloney explicitly acknowledged in his ruling, stating that 'Michigan restaurants are at risk of, or have already suffered, irreparable harm under Director Gordon’s EO,'" said president and CEO Justin Winslow. "It is in that vein that we will now transition our efforts to preventing an extension of the MDHHS Order beyond December 8..."

Michigan is currently in its third week of a three-week pause on several business operations around the state.

Uncontrolled community spread of COVID-19 was why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon implemented the restrictions, something that local businesses say only further hurts them in a financially brutal year.

Duggan lobbies to change property tax exemption in Detroit

Detroit's mayor made a visit to the state capitol on Wednesday in hopes of extending property exemptions for elderly residents on fixed incomes.

Currently, any homeowner eligible for a tax break has to apply each year for the status. Most of those people are "the oldest and least internet-connected group." said Duggan.

Lawmakers in the state Senate are considering bills that would forego the application process each year, allowing anyone who is exempt this year to remain so until 2023.

If the proposal passes, mostly elderly folks on a fixed income will benefit. 

"They’re not getting a job next year at stacking the shelves at Meijer or working the assembly line at Chrysler, and so to make them go through this process at the age of 83 and 84 and 85, in our minds, makes no sense," Duggan said.

With COVID-19, an additional 9,000 Detroit residents applied for the tax break.

Meals on Wheels sees spike in need during pandemic

Among the groups working hardest during the pandemic are the food banks supplying important supplies and resources for those struggling through 2020.

Poor elderly people are at an even higher risk against COVID-19, which has driven up demand at Meals on Wheels.

"We've definitely seen (an increased) need and capacity for seniors needing food delivery who are homebound," said Anna McCormick.

The growing need for food caused by a number of factors.

"Since seniors are the most vulnerable population and being told to stay home for their safety, we've seen a definite increase related to that," she said. "Also fear, a lot of seniors are afraid to leave their home, and loss of jobs, loss of income."

In just October this year, the group has noted an increase of 10,000 more recipients.

Stay at the Buddy the Elf suite in Royal Oak

The Royal Park Hotel in downtown Rochester is embracing holiday roots this December by opening a Buddy the Elf-inspired suite.

It's part of series of movie-based themes the hotel wants to fill their rooms with.

"Whether it's somebody who doesn't really know Buddy, or someone who's a huge Buddy fan, all ages, their eyes light up. They get a smile on their face. We have a Buddy the Elf movie playing as well as you can just have a fun night during kind of a tough time with the pandemic, and this year's very different," Keels said.

No detail has been left out either, including a surprise gift box guests receive. 

"Buddy, he loves Pop-Tarts and he loves maple syrup. So what we did was combined both and we've created a toasty maple tart for Buddy. But he also loves snowballs and marshmallows so we created a really wonderful sweet treat dipped in warm hot chocolate as well," Keels said.

You'll find more information about the hotel here.

Traffic stop in Oak Park yields AR-15 confiscation

A Michigan State Police trooper made a concealed carry weapon arrest Wednesday night after making a traffic stop in Oak Park.

A Lincoln MKZ was traveling 90 mph on I-696 when the officer initiated the stop.

The occupant in the vehicle displayed numerous signs of suspicious behavior as the officer approached him. 

A 5.7x28 mm FN Herstal Pistol and an AR-15 rifle.

Eventually, the 20-year-old male admitted to possessing a handgun on his person.

The trooper also located a loaded AR-15 in the car. The pistol was registered to the driver, but he did not have a permit.

The driver was lodged while a prosecutor reviews the case.

Other Stories

1. She's 26, from Detroit, and runs a brand promoting positivity in har care. But how those moves placed Yelitsa Jean-Charles on Forbe's prestigious "30 under 30" list is another story.
2. A Michael Jackson impersonator from Chicago made a trip to Michigan to show off his moves this week. You'll find Quindon King and his Thriller moves outside a Walmart in Livonia.
3. A disk jockey and radioman on 99.5 WYCD found himself applying life-saving measures to the victim of a car accident on I-696 Wednesday.
4. The mental anguish from 2020 will be remembered for a while. A Detroit woman is trying to launch a nationwide Black Therapist Network to make it a little easier.
5. Even during a pandemic, there are good ways and bad ways to help raise kids through the challenges. Here are some of the good ways.

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Climate change: Past decade on track to be warmest on record, WMO report says

Climate change has continued its relentless march through 2020 with record-breaking temperatures, sea-loss, hurricanes and wildfires. Now, 2020 is on track to be one of the three warmest years and the past decade could be the hottest on record, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a press release Wednesday.

“The average global temperature in 2020 is set to be about 1.2 °C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. There is at least a one in five chance of it temporarily exceeding 1.5 °C by 2024,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

And while record warm years typically coincide with strong El Niño events, 2020 is a La Niña pattern year.

“We are now experiencing a La Niña, which has a cooling effect on global temperatures but has not been sufficient to put a brake on this year’s heat. Despite the current La Niña conditions, this year has already shown near-record heat comparable to the previous record of 2016,” said Taalas.

According to the provisional report, which is based on temperature data from January to October 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade on record, with the warmest six years all occurring since 2015.